Welcome to the week of the NBA Draft.
‘Tis the season for news leaks and unpredictable trade rumours. In the most exciting way possible, the Orlando Magic are right in the middle of it.
Having one of the most exciting young rosters in the league, multiple first-round picks and cap flexibility has its benefits. One of them is being included in various rumours, aggregate tidbits and fake trades.
The NBA Draft gives teams around the league an opportunity as they evaluate their roster and their needs. That includes the Orlando Magic, who could be and maybe should make their big deal.
Well, I’m here to collect one more. And I’m here to argue that now is actually the time to make a big push to improve the Guard.
President of basketball operations Jeff Weltman talked about the need to grow the roster organically in his availability Monday. It comes with the expectation that players improve internally.
Still, it certainly feels like the Magic could be a team on the rise — JJ Redick said the same thing about The Old Man and the Three earlier this week.
The Magic could be a team that pushes the pace a little faster in the rebuild with a big swing. They certainly have the assets to do so. And the sharks are already circling, seemingly more eager to see a successful Magic team built around Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner.
On Sunday night’s episode of the Bill Simmons Podcast, Bill Simmons and Ryen Russillo spitballed trades for nearly two hours. At the very end of the pod, there was about 10 minutes of Orlando Magic talk.
They made two potential trades to the Orlando Magic to beat an opportunity with the Charlotte Hornets.
The Hornets find themselves in an interesting spot with the No. 2 pick. They already have their franchise point guard in LaMelo Ball, but they would be in an excellent position to select a possibly even more complete prospect in Scoot Henderson.
Could Ball and Henderson play together? If you had to choose only one, who would you choose? What is Ball worth? Do you take the known over the unknown?
These are all questions the Hornets are working through as we speak, and the best part about it is that the Magic don’t care. All the Magic should be concerned with is how to step in and take advantage of this situation.
The first option would be to trade for the second overall draft pick and the rights to select Scoot Henderson.
#2 (Scoot Henderson)
#6 and #11
Let me start by saying this would be a home run for the Magic.
Henderson is a culture changer, is hyper athletic and looks to be as good as we thought he was. He has been impressive in training and I didn’t want to be to shocked if he ends up being the best player in this draft.
In this case, it would likely take both the sixth and 11th picks and someone like Jalen Suggs to make this deal work. The Hornets may even ask for more, as a future first.
That seems like a lot to move up just four spots in the draft. But the payoff can be exponential down the road.
If the Hornets aren’t willing to trade the pick, they might be looking to move LaMelo to clear the runway for Henderson.
This would also work well for Magic. Simmons suggests the Magic could offer a similar package, but I think the Hornets would definitely ask for another pick in this package.
#6 and #11
Ball would immediately take over the point guard spot and give the team another player with All-Star potential. He would fit in seamlessly with Banchero and Wagner.
Markelle Fultz is a viable option for the position. But Ball’s play and potential would take the Magic to the next level.
This is definitely a big swing. And the bottom line right now is that if the Magic want to think big, they certainly have the pieces to do it.
I can’t exactly say the likelihood of any of these moves, and there’s a reason the Magic would be ecstatic to acquire one of the young guards. The Hornets may just be putting up a smokescreen and already have a plan in place for Henderson and Ball to co-exist. But it’s still worth a try.
However, this exercise triggered some additional thoughts. There may not be a better time for the Magic to consolidate assets for a young star guard than right now.
They have multiple picks, plenty of rotation players who could be of value, and a perfect spot on the timeline with Banchero and Wagner still on rookie deals to take the big swing and accelerate the team’s timeline.
There are certainly a few options available in what already looks like a fairly open trade market.
Do Jalen Suggs, Jonathan Isaac and the sixth pick a good package to acquire Anfernee Simons from the Portland Trail Blazers? I think there could be some benefit in exploring options.
Could you get Jalen Green for the right price from the Houston Rockets? Did the magic want him? Is there any value in looking at some of the riskier options like Jordan Poole, Tyler Herro or RJ Barret?
I wouldn’t rule much out – other than a big spending trade for someone like Damian Lillard.
The more I look into it, the more I warm to the idea of trading one (or both) of the picks in this year’s draft. There are guys obtainable out there and few have the assets the Magic have to get it and still improve the team in free agency or elsewhere.
That’s what makes this offseason so exciting for the Magic.